• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Italian firms seal Iran deals worth up to €17 billion
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian firms seal Iran deals worth up to €17 billion

AFP · 26 Jan 2016, 08:28

Published: 26 Jan 2016 08:28 GMT+01:00

Italian officials said contracts signed in Rome late Monday would be worth up to €17 billion ($18.4 billion), topped by a €5 billion deal for pipeline company Saipem, whose shares surged 18.5 percent in Milan on Monday.

A major order for Airbus planes is expected to be confirmed in France on Wednesday along with tie-ups with French carmakers Peugeot and Renault.

Rouhani said he had come to Europe with an 'open for business' message in the aftermath of Tehran's nuclear deal with the West.

"The Iranian market offers Italian and European investors the opportunity to establish themselves in the entire region," he said.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi added: "We have signed the first accords but we are only at the start of a long road."

Renzi said he had discussed efforts to end the war in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State group with the Iranian leader.

"If we could reach agreement on the nuclear issue, we can find one on Syria. We can and we have to."

Rouhani is due at the Vatican on Tuesday before flying to France the next day on his first official European trip as president. It is also his first overseas trip since the nuclear deal came into force earlier this month, clearing the way for Iran to rebuild its relationship with the West.

The Iranian leader is accompanied by more than 100 ministers, officials and businessmen.

Rouhani, a 67-year-old former academic and diplomat who is seen as a pragmatist, was elected in 2013 on a pledge to end sanctions and improve relations with the West.

"We have had friendly relations with Italy and France in the past and we want to continue our good relations with them," Rouhani told reporters before his departure on Monday from Mehrabad Airport.

He also revealed that "important contracts" were in the works with Peugeot and Renault, adding to a burgeoning list of deals being struck as European companies scramble to get back into a $400-billion economy with the world's fourth biggest oil reserves and a consumer market of 80 million people.

Billions up for grabs

National carrier Iran Air said on Sunday it would be buying 114 Airbus planes to modernize an ageing fleet that has struggled to stay in the air as a result of the impact of sanctions.

That deal alone underlines the huge economic stakes involved in Iran's re-opening, particularly for Europe's manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Iran's Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi said the first Airbuses were earmarked for delivery by March and that Iran was in the market for a total of up to 500 planes.

Peugeot is tipped to forge a car assembly joint venture with Iran Khodro, reviving a partnership which generated Iranian sales of 473,000 units in its last year before the French company pulled out in 2012.

Iranian media reported the deal will involve investment of €500 million.

Story continues below…

Iran's Central Bank governor said last week the country was counting on the nuclear deal unblocking some $50 billion worth of foreign investment.

Italian companies have been amongst the quickest off the blocks with a major business delegation having visited Tehran in November and some 500 entrepreneurs invited to a forum Rouhani will attend on Tuesday.

Italy was formerly Iran's biggest European trading partner, but trade has dwindled to a fifth of its former volume as a result of the sanctions.

National carrier Alitalia said on Monday it was upgrading its Rome-Tehran service from four a week to a daily flight in anticipation of increased business and tourist travel.

Amid the scramble for slices of the Iranian pie, rights groups fear Tehran's repression of political dissent and extensive use of the death penalty (700 executions in 2015 according to the UN) will be forgotten.

Pope Francis is expected to reiterate the Vatican's concerns on both issues, as well as asking Rouhani to help protect Christians in the Middle East.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italian spouses 'faked break-up to cash in on benefits'
File photo: foooomio/Flickr

Italy's finance police tracked the couple using hidden cameras.

Italy to remove corpses from salvaged migrant boat
Activists pray for those who died in the 2015 tragedy. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The sinking left around 800 dead - but they will now get proper burials.

Lidl and Bertolli fined €550k for fake 'extra virgin' olive oil
Photo: Dave Fayram/Flickr

The fines for misleading branding were recently hiked in Italy's ongoing battle to protect its oils.

Two-year-old hospitalized after being raised vegan
File photo: Joe Radele/AFP/Getty Images

The toddler spent several days in intensive care where she was treated for health complications thought to be caused by her parents' vegan diet.

Italy and the Netherlands offer to share UN council seat
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the Security Council. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP

Italy's Foreign Minister said the shared term would show "unity" from two European countries.

Conte theatrics a boon for Italy, and Chelsea fans
Antonio Conte during the Italy-Spain game on Monday. Photo: Philppe Lopez/AFP

A "great" Italian feat toppled Spain at Euro 2016, but Antonio Conte's touchline theatrics were just as dramatic for Italy and Chelsea fans during an emphatic 2-0 win over the defending champions.

Five essential Bud Spencer films to watch this weekend
Italian actor, Bud Spencer, passed away on Monday. Photo: Screenshot/YouTube

If you're looking to remember - or even discover - the delights of the late Bud Spencer's work, here are five films you should definitely watch.

Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
Gubbio (L) and Norcia (R). Photos: Angus Kirk/EricHuybrechts

Rome has a lot to offer, but if you're looking for variety or simply want a break away from the city, there's a treasure trove of towns within easy reach.

Euro 2016
Germany boss to banish Italy 'curse' in quarter-final clash
Germany coach Joachim Loew says Germany do not have an Italian 'curse'. Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP

Germany have lost their last eight matches to Italy at the knockout stages of major tournaments.

Bangladesh official charged over Italian's murder
Tavella's body leaves Bangladesh. Photo: Munir Az Zaman/AFP

The Italian aid worker was shot last September.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
Culture
Italian restaurant crowned the best in the world
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Ten breathtaking Italian gems you've never heard of
National
Eritrean held in Italy denies being trafficking kingpin
Health
Italian man 'turns French' after brain injury
Travel
Six reasons why South Tyrol will absolutely blow your mind
National
Why Italy's facing another tough summer
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Politics
Five reasons Rome's mayoral elections actually matter
Travel
Ten Airbnb apartments where you'll feel at home in Rome
Politics
Quiz: Silvio Berlusconi versus Donald Trump - who said it?
National
Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
Culture
Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
National
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
Travel
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
National
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
2,533
jobs available